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  • Writer's pictureAlan Jacobs

Why Mediation is the Right Choice for Changing a Parenting Plan?

Over time, the original Parenting Plan may no longer work for separated parents. Kids grow older and their schedules change. Parents relocate, their work hours change with a new job, or a parent experiences long-term health, addiction, or financial issues. Sometimes the original child custody or parenting time schedule may not be working for one or both parents and they may be struggling frequently to adjust the schedule.

Major Modifications to the Parenting Plan

While some parenting plan modification requests may be minor or short-term in nature, others may require significant changes to the existing agreement. For example, a request to change from 50/50 to 70/30 custody or from a 2-2-3 schedule to an alternating week custody arrangement may be made keeping in mind the child’s changing needs.

In rare cases, a parent may request to change the original parenting plan to full physical custody for one parent and limited visitation for the other. This may become necessary if one co-parent is unfit, unwilling, or unable to meet parental obligations.

Why Mediation is the Right Choice for Changing a Parenting Plan?

Mediation offers an opportunity for the co-parents to come together in a private, non-conflict environment to resolve the issue of Parenting Agreement modification with help from an experienced, neutral mediator. As opposed to negotiating on their own or using an attorney, chances are that a mutually acceptable solution can be found much faster and with greater satisfaction for both parties through mediation.

Attempting to resolve the Parenting Plan modification issues without the proactive involvement of a seasoned mediator increases the risk of parental conflict. And conflict between co-parents in this situation can only mean one thing: poorer outcome for the kids. Adversarial options such as litigation or arbitration should only be considered as a last resort in cases involving children.

The most important reason why co-parents should work with a mediator for modifying their Parenting Agreement is that a lawyer, a judge or another third party will never know what works best for your own and your child’s life. Having a resolution imposed through arbitration or the court will almost always result in dissatisfaction for both sides and unhappiness for children. Nobody wins when outcomes are imposed, and the worst part is the bitterness or conflict does not end.

Mediation Helps You Focus on Your Children’s Best Interests

With the guidance and support from a dedicated mediator, you and the other co-parent will be able to put your children’s best interests before your own. The mediator will help both parents see and understand the child’s specific requirements as well as the unique circumstances of each other. With the mediator’s transparent and impartial assistance, both parties will find it easier to adopt an amicable, practical, and cooperative approach to resolve the issue of parenting plan modification to everyone’s satisfaction.

A parenting plan modification agreement reached with the help of a mediator will avoid the stressful, time-consuming, and expensive route of litigation. Moreover, it will minimize the risk of parental alienation and enable the co-parents to play a meaningful role in the life of their children. When parents are in control of the important decisions related to custody, visitation and parenting time, their agreement is likely to last longer with better compliance from both sides.

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